Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Behavior, Practice and Process
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Research Handbook on Entrepreneurial Behavior, Practice and Process

Edited by William B. Gartner and Bruce T. Teague

This Research Handbook provides a comprehensive and detailed exploration of this question: What do entrepreneurs do? The book offers three perspectives (behaviour, practice, process) on this question, demonstrates specific methods for answering the question (ethnography, autoethnography, participant observation, diaries, social media platforms and multilevel research techniques) and provides insights into the implications of pursuing this question as it pertains to: the timing and relationality of entrepreneurial activities, the influence of socially situated cognitions, the effect of team membership, and, the challenges of pursuing a behaviourally oriented entrepreneurship pedagogy.
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Chapter 7: Searching for the roots of entrepreneuring as practice: introducing the enactive approach

Bengt Johannisson


It has taken the “practice turn” a long time to reach academic inquiry into entrepreneurship. The main reason is that the ontological and epistemological assumptions guiding practice research have to be reviewed before field studies can be carried out. Adopting an ontology of becoming entrepreneurship as process, thus entrepreneuring, appears as constantly dealing with upcoming situations. This calls for localized practices based on situated insight in terms of m_tis, that is street-smartness, and phronesis, wisdom. Only a “dwelling mode” of inquiry can reveal such actionable knowing. Accordingly enactive research is introduced, implying that the researcher intervenes in the real world by initiating and following through a venture while doing auto-ethnographic research. The scholar also appears as an entrepreneur, thereby adopting the identity of an “entresearcher”. The enactive approach includes five phases: the researcher’s familiarization with the context of the venture, its initiation, hands-on actualization of the venture, then separation by the scholar from the practice of entrepreneuring and, finally reflection at the re-entry into the academic community. Two ventures concerning cultural and social entrepreneurship are enacted. The findings include that entrepreneurial practices appear as routinized improvisations and that conscientiousness and grit as a duality govern the enactment process.

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